Saying Goodbye to 2017

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Wow, it’s been a while since I last checked in here. The last few months of 2017 really flew by, and now that I’m working full time, winter break ends with the new year. Before work picks up again, I wanted to take some time to reflect on the past year and set some new year’s intentions for 2018.

Well, let’s start off with what I said back in January of 2017:

“I hope 2017 will be another year full of happiness, love, and good news. This year, I don’t want to make grand plans to become a new person. I just want to keep growing, but as me. I want to become someone who gives more love, shows more kindness, possesses more courage and confidence, tries new things without fear, and someone who stays busy striving to make each moment meaningful.”

I know, it’s basically impossible to sum up an entire year in a short paragraph, but I think I really tried to stay true to these words. By the end of this year, I got to experience a handful of new adventures and hit some major milestones in my life. I graduated from college and got a master’s degree, and although it’s still hard to believe, passed all of my CPA exams. I moved into a new apartment in Hell’s Kitchen. I spent my first full winter in New York. Although I was apprehensive about being away from my family for the holidays, my Christmas season in New York was rather filled with love and warm spirit.

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But what really made this year meaningful are the relationships and connections that I made with the many great friends that I got to know better throughout the year. I led a small group for another fall semester in 2017 and got to bond with more fellow brothers and sisters throughout the season. I tried to expand and maintain my individual relationships with friends that I have made at different points in my life. Moving from place to place every since I was a little kid, I’ve developed and surrounded myself with a different group of friends each time.  As blessed as I feel to have known so many great friends, I’ve felt that it’s tragically easy to let them just drift away with time. In 2017, I tried to go beyond just texts and simple hellos to developing deeper friendships, and I hope to continue doing so in the new year.

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In 2017, I came to appreciate my family even more. Having my parents visit New York, losing my aunt to cancer, spending a summer with my sister, and spending time with my grandparents back in Seoul all had a tremendous impact on the way that I think about family. I came to realize that the family that I know and grew up with isn’t going to stay the same forever, but the essence of it will always be with me. I now know that it’s important to cherish and appreciate the fun memories, but also work on creating new moments that will one day become warm subjects of nostalgia.

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I thoroughly enjoyed my last semester of being an undergrad student, but I was already studying for my first two CPA exams by then. Then I studied through summer break for my master’s, transitioned to a full-time job, all the while still studying for CPA exams and staying involved at church. This really took a toll on my physical and mental well-being. In late November, I had a really bad case of heart palpitations. I had never experienced heart palpitations before, and the discomfort – and the fear that accompanied it – got to a point where I was lying down under the covers in fetal position, just praying to God that the suffocation and the anxiety would go away. I went through a full physical exam and a cardiology consultation, and since then my condition has improved drastically. But I never realized that the stress was building up inside of me and breaking me down.

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Well, for the new year, I’m just gonna give myself some room to relax, heal, and grow.

My heart scare at the end of this year really was a wake-up call for myself to pay more attention to my health. I kind of let myself go in terms of health for the last half of the year, preoccupied with working and studying, all the while eating junk or eating out. In the new year, I want to feel good and comfortable with my body, both inside and out. I’m doing a January reset diet, where I’m going to avoid:

  • Gluten/white grains
  • Added sugar
  • Dairy
  • Alcohol
  • Processed food

Hopefully this will improve how my body functions, and maybe help with developing healthier habits in the long run.

I’m taking a break from leading small group, and hope to work on becoming closer to God by focusing on my relationship with Him rather than all the logistics that come with being a small group leader. I want my love for God and the love for my church community to spring from myself, not from my responsibility as a leader.

I also want to be creative. Although I am stuck at a desk during the week, I don’t want to be stuck in a rut during the rest of my day. I want to make full use of my free time to create things, produce content, and try new projects. With that in mind, one thing I want to try is cooking at home more often. This really encompasses my personal goals of physical well-being, and hopefully, it will help me save some money as well.

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I also want to read more books. I burned through a few books during the summer, and I remembered how fun it was to be totally immersed in a story inside a book. My goal this year is to finish 12 books, so at least one book per month.

I want to try a challenging activity, whether it be a new sport, artistic endeavor, a new instrument, or a new language.

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I want to give more. The holiday season really made me realize that the gift of giving is a precious and amazing feeling; I want to spend less money and attention on myself and more on others.

I’m sure there will be obstacles, but here’s to hoping that the new year will have a lot more breakthroughs and achievements than there will be hardships.

Cheers!

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